Wednesday, April 04, 2007

More Veggie Wisdom

From the Ballad of Little Joe

Sherrif Bob: "If God loves you so much, why do bad things keep happening to you?"

Little Joe Larry: "I don't know. But I will. When its time."

"Just a thought"

No, I'm not saying I have a thought. Rather I'm quoting others. You know, people who make a commentary on your life choices by saying, "Have you ever considered (....) You know, just a thought" in a way that is just a bit too casual sounding. Generally the impression which is given is, "I'm trying to be polite but I really think you need to do it this way and I'm sure if you haven't thought of this before because if you had I'm certain your sense of logic would prevail and this is how you would do it."

Where I hear this happening most is with family size and spacing. I will say, I have a lot of patience for non-Christians and new Christians who have a diminished view of children. People who are/have been heavily under the influence of the secular view that children are fine, maybe even great, in small numbers and at the exact time you decide that they enter; but in large numbers or at the wrong time it is your prerogative to do whatever you feel necessary to get things back on schedule. Unfortunately though I think many solid, mature Christians have bought into this lie as well. Not that we're not solidly against abortion and maybe even chemical birth control (although that is more rare) but rather this hesitation to just relax and realize that plans are OK to make but ultimately that they are needed to be surrendered to God and He may have different plans. I think we too often look to outside circumstances like health, money, current place in life and give these things the greatest weight in our "family planning". I think we're also often afraid to do any different, and even a little afraid of people who have decided to take a different path. I'll be blunt- to hear a Christian sister say that they believe children are a blessing and that they want as many as God will send them and they trust Him to provide for all blessings sent their way is rather intimidating. My mind goes to the years I was (now regrettably) on birth control, the months more recently where I've wasted time worrying how I was going to physically keep up with our demands. But other areas of faith aren't as scary. My safety, the safety of my family, a roof over our heads, food on the table, money for the doctors- these are all things I'm good at trusting God for. And areas I've seen many Christians good at trusting God for. Why are so many of us hung up on the baby issue?

I'm certainly not saying that everyone needs 10 children, or to be pregnant as soon as they get married and stay that way until menopause. But we definitely need to have a Biblical understanding of children, to make our choices based on a solid Biblical world view, and to not think that other families who are doing things outside of the cultural norm have taken all leave of there senses.

I fear I'm not making much sense here. And I know that at the moment I am overly sensitive to this topic. However, I'm not certain that an over sensitivity to the joy of children is such a bad thing. I'm deeply concerned that Christendom is becoming simply anti-abortion, not pro-life. When I hear people who have been Christians longer than I have been alive dismiss views on the goodness of babies as "too catholic" or look like they are are so shocked they might faint when told that someone prayed they might not have a child with perfect health, or scoff at the idea of adoption being something that as many people as possibly can should do....well lets just say it concerns me as to the state of the church. My hope is that my exposure to these attitudes is simply the exception rather than the rule, but I'm rather pessimistic as to that being the case.

What I don't want to do is tell people what they need to be doing with their lives as if I had everything figured out. After all, that is what I start out this post rallying against. I don't want though the Bride of Christ to be infected with something which isn't of Christ. And I think I can state pretty confidently that the secular view of children, marriage, and family is not of Christ. So, perhaps that is my point in all of this. That although looking to what our current life situation is can be a good thing when considering things like marriage and babies, that it can't be all that we look at. God has given us the gift of making choices for our lives and has given us (as is so often pointed out) the opportunity to be good stewards of the things in our life. We might need to re-examine the filters through which we make our choices. Who knows? We could end up at the same spot as the person who was giving us unsolicited advice on our family size wants us. But no matter where we end up we must know that we got there by the leading of God, not because we bowed to our fears and outside pressures to conform to what was expected of us by a society that has largely come to hate children and makes choices based largely out of selfishness and very little else.

I hope all of this made sense. I hope what all of it says to everyone else (as it reads in my head) is that God does have opinions about children and that His heart needs to be our heart. And that isn't going to produce the exact same family for each person. I want the church to love children. I want Christians to rejoice when they see a family open to more children in their home, whether by birth or adoption, even if it is a different path than what they took. I want Christians to realize when they have had unbiblical attitudes about children and to repent of that even if it is painful or uncomfortable. Did it say that? Is anyone still even reading this crazy, rambling post? If so, thank you for bearing with my wednesday afternoon, it is dark and gloomy outside and I fear maybe in, and I'm putting my thoughts out there for everyone else to read post. Are my observations more universal? Is the church becoming less and less in love with life and the gift of children?